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European Sustainable Energy Week

Energy community in Crete wins European Sustainable Energy Award for paving the way for free electricity for all

Greece’s Minoan Energy Community recognised by European Commission for pioneering citizen-led renewable energy initiatives

Today, in Brussels, Minoan Energy Community was awarded the European Sustainable Energy Award 2022 in the Local Energy Action category. The award recognises an implemented sustainable energy action, driven by a group of citizens or consumers, which contributes to the clean energy transition at the community or local level. European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, met with the four award winners to congratulate them at the awards ceremony on the first day of the European Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW), the biggest annual event dedicated to renewables and energy efficiency in Europe. ​

Through a project funded and implemented by Minoan Energy Community members, over 100 households and businesses in Minoa Pediadas on Crete will have free electricity for the next 25 years. This is thanks to a recently commissioned photovoltaic (PV) plant with an output of 405 kWp. Using a virtual net metering approach, involved participants have the option to compensate their annual electricity consumption with solar energy produced anywhere on the island territory.


We wanted to take Crete’s energy transition into our own hands. We started with this small-sized and realistic project to go through the process, also taking into account that energy consumers are currently suffering from very high prices. With this project we can provide members with free electricity.

Dimitris Katsaprakakis, Minoan Energy Community

Crete is a region blessed with renewable energy sources and we would like to utilise this potential, not only to serve the energy transition but also to engage citizens in this process.

Charalampos Giannopoulos, President of the Community

In 2021, an earthquake in the area forced 20% of residents out of their homes. Together with the regional authority, Minoan Energy Community plans to cover the energy needs of almost 100 low-income households, corresponding to more than 200 displaced earthquake victims. This first project has shown that they have a replicable model and one that also can address energy poverty in Greece.

Using our experience, we have been able to provide important assistance to several other islands on how to establish their own energy communities. We believe that every Greek island should have its own energy community. This is how the energy transition must be implemented.

Dimitris Katsaprakakis, Minoan Energy Community

Since the community’s first project, local awareness has grown with the Minoan Energy Community surpassing 400 members, including not only households and individual citizens but also public authorities, cooperatives, associations and SMEs. According to their value statement, ‘all are welcome to join the effort’. The community has been also presented as an example of best practice by Interreg Europe’s CLEAN project and the European Citizen Energy Academy (EUCENA).

The members take pride in how their energy community is governed. With the concept of ‘energy democracy’ at the core of the project, all strategic decisions are made by the General Assembly. The aim is to keep society as the key player, so that social justice remains at the heart of this work, no matter the motivation: whether climate change mitigation, environmental concerns or economic advantages.

In providing free energy to local residents, Minoan Energy Community is contributing to the European Commission’s Clean energy for all Europeans package and delivering on the European Green Deal. Establishing citizen-led renewable energy projects through energy communities is crucial to the EU’s renewable energy directive and is also supporting the REPowerEU Plan to accelerate the clean energy transition and increase Europe’s energy independence.

Minoan Energy Community was one of three finalists shortlisted for the European Sustainable Energy Awards 2022 in the Local Energy Action category. The other finalists in the Local Energy Action category are C-Track 50 and ComAct. ​

Minoan Energy Community photo
Minoan Energy Community photo
Minoan Energy Community photo
Minoan Energy Community photo

About the European Sustainable Energy Awards

The European Sustainable Energy Awards recognise outstanding individuals and projects for their innovation and efforts in energy efficiency and renewables. Prizes are awarded following a public vote in four categories: Innovation, Local Energy Action, Woman in Energy, and Young Energy Trailblazer. Finalists are chosen by a high-level jury from a shortlist of the year’s most successful projects and actions for clean, secure and efficient energy.


➔ Meet the other 2022 European Sustainable Energy Awards winners